Even though Kickstarter is where many indie developers have been finding their kicks, Wayforward still has a knack for creating games with licenses attached to them. What I didn’t see coming was the source material they found themselves using for this one; of all the things to make into a game, the negatively-received The Mummy gets the treatment. I did a double-take at first, but knowing Wayforward, I knew they would be able to dish out something interesting. So how do I feel about it now that I’ve played it through? Well…
Disclaimer: I haven’t seen The Mummy and I never will.
It’s not like you need to see the movie to know what’s going on here, anyway. There’s an ancient evil that’s arisen the villain dubbed Princess Ahmanet. Agents are sent to find her and destroy her supernatural hordes of baddies. There isn’t much else in the way of storytelling, but the game is really more about taking in the atmosphere of the terrain than anything else.
Wayforward never ceases to do excellent pixel art. The Mummy: Demastered is no exception; the rich sprites, tiles, and backgrounds make the title look like a brand new 2D Metroid game! I also dig the elements that are inspired by the Castlevania series, particularly the castles and the many distinctive enemies the player encounters throughout the venture. The visual quality is topped off with plenty of cool effects and an impressive sense of scale.
Present throughout is a chiptune soundtrack that manages to be atmospheric, yet not without memorable melodies. Because of this, each of the locations in the game have an audible identity even though they are all commonly laden with monsters and dark settings. The darkness is nothing you can’t light up with firepower, though; expect the sounds of gunfire and enemy strikes to be music to balance out the mellow vibes with old school stimulation.
You know how I said The Mummy: Demastered looks like a new 2D Metroid game? Well, the gameplay isn’t too far off of that idea, either. It’s so much like Metroid that I’m almost surprised the soldier didn’t turn out to be female! This is an action-platformer that has a great amount of exploration to it. As the player navigates the caverns, there will be loads of enemies to shoot, platforms and terrain to hop across, and upgrades to seek out. The soldier is already capable of shooting in multiple directions and throwing grenades, but the upgrades could include more powerful weapons, health packs, and other things that can help traversing through paths.
The game design balances out the fluidity of the player with enemies that challenge his or her reflexes and platforming strategies alike. You can expect to die a lot if you aren’t careful, but you can fight it by collecting health and ammo packs that enemies drop. Should you do die, the soldier becomes undead; the only way to re-obtain all the gear you’ve had – and therefore resume progress at all – is by gunning the zombie down. Although an interesting idea, trying to do this in areas where enemies can take down 1/3 of your health in an instant could get increasingly frustrating. Yet, it feels so great when you actually do get the stuff back.
That can be said for the whole game, really: It feels great. The Mummy: Demastered is very well-polished, and it captures the feel of its inspirations remarkably. I don’t even play that much of the Metroid series, and I think the game is awesome. I can’t say anything about the movie this is meant to tie in with, but I can assure that this is another memorable entry in Wayforward’s pedigree.